Topical salves and creams are one of those geeky areas of cannabis that makes everyone ears perk. The best part - they actually work! I find them to be an effective for multiple forms of chronic pain, skin irritation/rashes, and even healing my tattoos!
Applied locally like you would any muscle rub, cannabis topical applications are not absorbed into the bloodstream so they don’t get you stoned. Typically taking effect within 15-20 minutes they are a great option for a variety of pain and skin conditions. I use mine frequently for my fibromyalgia, herniated discs, and endometriosis pain. Many of the patients I work with use cannabis pain relief salves for arthritis, neuropathy, inflammation, headaches, and post workout soreness. Making your own is relatively easy to do and saves a TON of money - we’re talking 2.5-3 jars of homemade topical compared to pre-made MMTC purchased options.
The recipe below has been quite the labor of love. I’ve tested multiple versions until I found the perfect texture and medical benefit for my preferences. If you don’t like recipes and prefer to experiment, check out my DIY topical guide on the Florida Medical Cannabis Clinic Blog.
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MEDICAL CANNABIS PAIN RELIEF TOPICAL SALVE
4 TBS beeswax pellets
2 TBS cocoa butter
6 TBS shea butter
Surterra Soothe Pure Reserve Oil or Trulieve’s Gods Gift 1:1 Truclear
1/4 cup olive oil, avocado oil, or fractionated coconut oil
Plant Therapy Rapid Relief Blend or other essential oil blend
3 - 4 oz jars for storing or other travel containers
*600-900 total cannabinoids recommended
Prepare a double boiler over medium heat. If you don't have a double boiler use this method with 2 sauce pans or a saucepan and large bowl. Add beeswax and stir continuously. Do not melt beeswax over direct heat as it may scorch.
Add cocoa butter and shea butter, stirring until melted and well mixed.
Remove from heat. Add cannabis concentrate and olive oil and stir until concentrate is completely dissolved. Add essential oil blend of choice - following dilution guidelines for proper amounts.
For best consistency, let cool until slightly hardened and whip with a whisk, fork, or immersion blender until creamy. Transfer finished salve to storage containers and allow to set. Apply liberally for localized pain. Store in a cool dark place.
If your concentrate is difficult to work with, warm it prior to use with a hairdryer or by placing in a sealed bag in warm water.
Because I’m always recipe developing I usually melt my ingredients first and measure them in liquid form, but you DO NOT have to do this. You can measure them solid using dry measuring cups or tablespoons. It’s not always exact this way, but it doesn’t have to be. You have a lot of wiggle room. You really can’t mess it up.
The salve will immediately begin to harden and set when off heat, so don’t let it hang out too long. Transfer it into containers quickly.
If you are concerned about consistency you can ‘spot check’ by putting a small amount of salve oil into the refrigerator until it sets. If the texture isn’t quite right melt down the mixture and add ingredients to change the consistency. Just work on low heat so you do not destroy the cannabinoids.
Wipe down any pans or measuring utensils prior to washing - beeswax and other solid fats will solidify and clog your drains. Another one of those trust me situations. Don’t learn from my mistakes.
I don’t have science to back it up (I haven’t look into it), but I’d be cautious about adding cannabis oil to commercial lotions as they may contain chemicals that could break down the medicine.
Silicone dab containers are great for carrying small amounts of salve while on the go. I prefer the small ones, but they come in various sizes.